Exhausted from more than a decade of counterinsurgency, it would be easy for the United States to focus on naval Fleet actions in the Pacific, but our national security requires nation-building to remain part of a broader joint strategy.
Nation-building remains a dirty word among many politicians, military officers, and defense experts alike. As a presidential candidate, George W. Bush expressed his concern, stating “Let me tell you what else I’m worried about: I’m worried about an opponent who uses nation-building and the military in the same sentence.”1 Many of today’s high-level politicians deride it as well. Some even deny that it is central to our current missions in the Middle East or assert that it is something we should focus on at home rather than abroad. Most uniformed commanders will speak to it only under the guise of stability operations.